Bingham Farms Physician Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Illegally Distributing Over One Million Opioid Pills and Health Care Fraud
DETROIT - Bingham Farms physician David Jankowski was sentenced today to 20 years in prison based on his conviction following a jury trial of thirty charges related to the unlawful distribution of prescription drugs and for health care fraud, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison. He was also ordered to forfeit over $35 million which represents the proceeds of drug-trafficking, property that facilitated the commission of the offense, and proceeds of the health care fraud conspiracy. In addition, Jankowski was also ordered to pay restitution to Medicare in the amount $5.2 million.
Joining Ison in the announcement were James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Mario Pinto, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General.
Jankowski, age 63, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Bernard Friedman. The charges on which he was convicted stemmed from the operation of Summit Medical Group, a purported medical clinic formerly located in Dearborn Heights and Southfield, Michigan and owned by Jankowski. Federal agents first executed search and arrest warrants against Jankowski and Summit in June 2017. According to court records, Jankowski gave the Summit Medical Group the false appearance of a legitimate medical center, when in reality Summit was a pill mill supplying narcotics to drug-seeking customers.
In July 2022, a jury found Jankowski guilty of thirty criminal counts, including conspiracies to unlawfully distribute controlled substances and health care fraud, the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, and multiple counts of health care fraud.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Jankowski wrote medically unnecessary prescriptions for drugs like Oxycontin, Oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and Xanax. Jankowski persuaded one patient to receive unnecessary shoulder surgery in return for prescribing medically unnecessary controlled substances. He also prescribed controlled substances after receiving cash from patient recruiters who brought their own patients to his practice. Trial testimony demonstrated that Jankowski issued or authorized the issuance of more than 1 million opioid pills to individuals outside the course of professional medical practice and for no legitimate medical purpose in exchange for compensation.
During the trial, the jury heard testimony that Jankowski sent out an unlicensed medical school graduate to perform home visits to Medicare beneficiaries and issue them prescriptions for controlled substances with had been pre-signed by Jankowski. Jankowski, who was not present during the visit, directed that the fraudulent claims to Medicare be submitted as if he himself had performed the service.
Jankowski induced patients into his practice by providing medically unnecessary controlled substances that were subsequently diverted to the illicit street market. In return, Jankowski submitted false and fraudulent claims to Michigan auto insurance companies, private health care insurers, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Based upon this fraudulent scheme, Jankowski received more than $35 million from insurance companies and approximately $5 million from Medicare and Medicaid.
“Michigan communities have seen devastating losses relating to opioid overdoses in the last five years,” stated U.S. Attorney Ison. “Doctors who illegally dispense powerful prescription drugs bear some of the responsibility for this harm to our community. We hope prosecutions like this one will stop medical professionals from abusing their positions by dealing drugs and stealing from insurance companies and taxpayers. .”
“By prescribing medically unnecessary prescription medications and defrauding health insurance programs, this defendant put vulnerable patients at risk and contributed to the high cost of medical care for all of us,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “Today’s sentence should serve as a warning to any medical professional willing to engage in this type of health care fraud that agents from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General will work diligently and collaboratively to bring them to justice.”
“Medical providers who prescribe powerful controlled substances without regard for medical necessity and submit fraudulent claims for unnecessary services, place their patients at risk and waste valuable taxpayer dollars,” said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto. “We will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to ensure that individuals who endanger patients through their prescribing practices and commit fraud against our federal health care programs are held accountable.”
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Regina R. McCullough, Wayne F. Pratt, Philip A. Ross, Jessica Nathan and Peter Schneider.